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Students’ educational progress now is being tracked as soon as they enter the school doors, thanks to a new state screener for public schools’ youngest members.
Results for the first statewide kindergarten-readiness screener show about half of the state’s incoming kindergartners are prepared for that level of school work without additional support. Locally, the majority of the results for the screener are similar to Kentucky as a whole.
The screener, a test of sorts given to students right before the school year begins or soon after the first day of school, looks at five areas — cognitive-general knowledge, language and communications, physical well-being, social and emotional development and self-help skills. Each area is scored and an overall determination is made of the child’s readiness for school.
At Panther Academy in Elizabethtown Independent Schools, 48.4 percent of students were considered ready for kindergarten at the beginning of the year.
A few classrooms at HCS piloted the screener last year, which helped the district prepare for a full implementation, said Carlena Sheeran, director of early childhood programs.
Results are intended to be used as a starting point for teachers’ instruction. Knowing that children come from a variety of pre-kindergarten settings, Sheeran said she kept her expectations open as far as what the results would look like.
“I don’t know that I had any preconceived ideas,” Sheeran said.
Principal Kelly Graham at Panther Academy said she hoped the percentage would be higher for her students.
“It was disappointing to me to see that,” Graham said, though she noted the school’s results were in line with the state average.
Graham said teachers enjoyed having more information on students as soon as school began.
“They absolutely loved it,” she said.
For the majority of schools, students coming to kindergarten from child care performed better than children in state-funded preschool programs. The public preschool population is made up of students who have qualified based on income and learning disabilities, however, so Sheeran felt the two aren’t comparable. The results still provide guidelines for preschool teachers, she said.
“This gives us some data to hone in on,” she said.
Graham said she’d like to see the curriculum for public preschool to be more closely aligned with kindergarten standards, so students are better prepared when they leave preschool.
Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747
By the numbers
Students ready for kindergarten according to screener
64.7 percent Hardin County Schools
60.3 percent Creekside Elementary School
50.5 percent G.C. Burkhead Elementary School
51.1 percent Heartland Elementary School
31 percent Howevalley Elementary School
51.1 percent Lakewood Elementary School
52.5 percent Lincoln Trail Elementary School
47.4 percent New Highland Elementary School
48.9 percent North Park Elementary School.
45.8 percent LaRue County Schools
38.6 percent Abraham Lincoln Elementary School
52.9 percent Hodgenville Elementary School
38.9 percent West Point Elementary School